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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Romanian Competition Council opened an investigation regarding a possible cartel in the Romanian market for dairy products

Yesterday and today, 18 July 2013, simultaneous dawn raids of the Romanian Competition Council took place at the headquarters of several dairy producers.  The Romanian Competition Council opened recently an investigation regarding a possible cartel among dairy producers which are members of the Association of the Romanian Dairy Producers (APRIL), namely: Albalact SA (owned by Romanian businessmen), Covalact SA (owned by the investment fund SigmaBleyzer), Danone PDPA SRL (subsidiary of the French company Danone), Frieslandcampina SA (a subsidiary of the Dutch producer, the 3rd dairy producer in the world), Almera Internaţional SRL, Dorna Lactate SA (owned by the French giant Lactalis), Hochland România SRL (a member of the Hochland Group), Lactate Natura SA, Napolact SA (owned also by FrieslandCampina), Lactag SA, Lacto-Solomonescu SRL, Teletext SRL, Unicarm SRL and Unilact Transilvania SRL.
In the upcoming period, we may assist to the opening of other investigations, with similar objects, due to the fact that the Romanian competition enforcement agency expressed its availability to receive informations in respect of possible cartels from any persons who know about such illegal agreements - the competition vigilantes.   
If the Competition Council is notified in respect of the involvement of an undertaking in a possible cartel and receives evidence in support thereof from the competition vigilantes, the respective undertaking will not be able to benefit any longer from immunity from fines (leniency) if it discloses later on the existence of the cartel, which should be a strong incentive for such undertakings to evaluate their situation and to be the first which go to the Competition Council.  
It should be noted also that the Romanian Competition Council improved and strenghtened significantly its collaboration with the Prosecutor's Office in order to detect and punish the cartel infringements.